Sports

Camp teaches love of soccer

MARYSVILLE — It's all fun and encouragement at the city of Marysville's Ultimate Soccer Camp. And maybe a little confusion, too.

"Don't be the hot sauce, be the burrito," counseled Brady Ballew, one of the camp's coaches as several of his players met with another of the camp's small groups in six-on-six soccer to wrap up the day in fundamentals.

But players didn't look twice, feeding on the energy of their high school-aged coaches and the chance to practice the different kicks and moves they'd worked on in a game scenario.

"We know each other and we've been working for the parks for a little while," said Jeff Ballew with Marysville parks and recreation, which puts on the camp and others like it during the summer. "We're all here to have fun and that rubs off on the kids."

Jeff, an enthusiast and player of the sport from about the age of his campers through high school, said he has helped lead the camp for the last seven years, but it has been a fixture of the summer schedule for even longer. This year's four-day camp at Strawberry Fields drew 25 young kickers, up to about age 14.

While abilities varied by age and experience, the camp divided players into small groups and provided a ball for everyone during basic drills to provide as much on-ball time as possible.

"They're playing with kids at their age level and above so that they're being pushed," Ballew added.

Additionally, kids were encouraged with a spotlight session at the end of the day, where coaches and kids could recognize one another for their accomplishments on the field. The camp wrapped up Aug. 13.

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